Rob Pilatus, one-half of lip-synching duo Milli
Vanilli, has died apparently of a booze-and-pill
overdose, a German newspaper reports.
The performer was found alone in a Frankfurt hotel
room on Thursday night, blood oozing from his nose
and mouth. He was 32.
Former Milli Vanilli partner Fabrice "Fab" Morvan
said Monday: "I'm feeling tremendous pain and
sorrow upon hearing the news of my friend and
brother Rob. He will always be a part of me. We
grew up struggling, then succeeding. The only
thing we wanted was a chance to sing and perform."
"Milli Vanilli was not a disgrace," Morvan added.
"The only disgrace is how Rob died--all alone,
internally destroyed from the rapid rise then
News of Pilatus' death first circulated Sunday in
the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Frankfurt police have refused comment. An autopsy
was scheduled to determine exact cause of death,
the paper said.
Milli Vanilli producer Frank Farian told the
German newspaper that Pilatus was drinking
Thursday. "[But] we didn't know...that he was
taking tablets that are very dangerous with
alcohol," Farian was quoted as saying.
With Morvan, Pilatus scaled the heights of the
music industry and plumbed its depths.
The long-haired, model-handsome duo were recruited
by Farian to front a pop group. The formula was a
success--"Girl You Know It's True," "Girl I'm
Gonna Miss You," "Baby Don't Forget My Number" and
"Blame It on the Rain" topped the pop charts. From
1988-89, the pair sold 30 million singles and 14
million albums worldwide. Then in January 1990:
The Grammy for Best New Artist.
Eleven months later, amid industry-wide
speculation, Farian blew the whistle on the scam:
Rob and Fab never sang a note on their records, or
in their stage shows.
Farian said he was forced to go public with the
news after Rob and Fab insisted on doing vocals on
a follow-up album. The scandal ended Milli Vanilli
and forced the guys to return their Grammy.
The pair tried a comeback--billing themselves as
Rob and Fab--releasing an album in 1993 and even
going on the talk-show circuit to prove they could
really sing. But nobody listened.
After the fall, Pilatus had the tougher time of
the two. In 1991, under the influence of alcohol
and prescription pills, be slashed a wrist and
threatened to jump from a West Hollywood hotel
balcony. Various stints in rehab and therapy
followed, along with several run-ins with police.
Still, Farian said he was "totally shocked" by
"Rob looked really good again after his therapy,
and was full of optimism," the producer told the
Pilatus was a native New Yorker, but he grew up in
Munich and is expected to be buried there.
He is survived by his son and his sister.